Australian Politicians Create An Exemption From Data Retention Laws For Themselves… Or Not, Because We Got Fooled

from the not-thinking-it-through dept

Update: Or not. Turns out this was an April Fool’s joke that Glyn missed. So, congrats, Crikey, on fooling our most careful writer…

Now that the completely disproportionate data retention law has been rushed through the Australian Parliament, politicians are suddenly realizing that their metadata will be collected too. And so, as was perhaps inevitable, they have asked for an exemption, as reported here by Crikey:

An in-camera meeting of the high-powered Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security last week agreed to task the Department of Defence’s signals intelligence arm, the Australian Signals Directorate, and the new Australian Cyber Security Centre with ensuring politicians’ metadata is not captured by the government’s new data retention regime while they are at work in [the Australian capital] Canberra.

The argument was that:

given Parliament House is supposed to be the centre of Australian democracy, they shouldn’t be, you know, tracked while at work there

Well, many people would argue that they shouldn’t be tracked either, but obviously politicians are special. It seems that there were two options for achieving this carve-out. One required officials personally identifying and deleting the metadata of politicians, staffers and senior public servants — a manual process aptly dubbed “handwashing”. The other, cheaper, approach — the one chosen — was simply to remove metadata from all communications generated within Australia’s Parliament House.

Problem solved — except that some 680,000 visitors enter the building annually, and while they are there, their metadata will not be collected either. Ironically, then, the new exemption for politicians from a scheme allegedly to help the fight against terrorism and crime will turn Parliament House into the perfect location for plotting precisely those things in relative safety.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Australian Politicians Create An Exemption From Data Retention Laws For Themselves… Or Not, Because We Got Fooled”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Cleveland Steamer Act of 2015

All citizens of voting age will be required to allow daily visits from federal enforcers in which they will subject themselves to be shat upon for a period of time no less than reasonably expected for the enforcer to finish relieving their bowels on said citizen.

Amended to exclude all government officials, agencies, and employees.

That One Guy (profile) says:

The best lie and/or trick is a believable one

I think the real impressive/depressing thing here is that this wasn’t immediately spotted as an april fool’s joke.

It was close enough to how people expect politicians to act, in this case proposing laws to spy on the public, claiming that there’s nothing to be concerned about with regards to said spying, and then exempting themselves from the public being able to see what the politicians are doing/saying, that people took it at face value.

Given what they’ve done and said to date, how would something like this be out of character? Politicians are infamous for their gross hypocrisy, so something like this? Completely in line with what they’ve done in the past, so it’s not surprising that people thought it was real.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...